Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 30 June, 1999

Written Answers. - Basic Income Proposals.

1. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Taoiseach if the steering group on basic income which he has set up will consider the implication of the proposal for social insurance contributions in view of the fact that some currently insurance derived benefits must be either supplemented by or subsumed into basic income. [16303/99]

The Taoiseach: The Partnership 2000 working group on basic income is considering an indicative basic income proposal put forward by the Conference of Religious in Ireland. The CORI proposal is that a basic income would be paid unconditionally to everyone, irrespective of whether or not they were in receipt of income from any other source. While the basic income would be tax free, all additional income would then be taxable at a flat rate. Under the proposed basic income system, all social welfare payments would be replaced by a basic income payment. Employee's PRSI would be abolished, and employer's PRSI would be replaced by a social responsibility tax. The implications of this change are being considered by the group.

I am advised that the group has completed its discussion of phase one of the study which covers the costs and distributional aspects of basic income and for which a considerable amount of detailed analysis of costings, taxation and social welfare matters has had to be undertaken. The report of phase one of the study will be submitted in the near future. Work has already commenced on the second phase of the study which will evaluate the economic, social, budgetary and administrative impact of the introduction of a basic income system.